2023 KTM 390 Adventure SW And X Variants Review

KTM has revised the 390 Adventure portfolio to make it more accessible and more capable by introducing two new variants of the motorcycle.

By Janak Sorap


7 mins read


03-Jun-23 10:00 AM IST



  • The 390 Adventure SW variant get wire-spoke wheels and fully-adjustable suspension, demands premium of Rs 22,134
  • The SW variant is the top-spec version in the 390 Adventure range
  • The 390 Adventure X is the most accessible variant, almost Rs 60,000 cheaper that the standard 390 Adventure

It has been three years since the KTM 390 Adventure was introduced in India, and from that point on, the motorcycle has garnered quite a fan following amongst adventure and off-road enthusiasts. Now after listening to the requests of many existing and prospective 390 Adventure customers, KTM has not only expanded the range but also introduced a slew of upgrades to make the 390 Adventure more accessible and more capable.



To test ride the two new variants of the 390 Adventure, we spent some at ProDirt Adventure on the outskirts of Pune. First up is the 390 Adventure X, a more accessible low-spec version in comparison to the standard 390 Adventure, and the second is the top-of-the-line 390 Adventure SW, featuring wire-spoke wheels, adjustable suspension and a new livery. 

So the question is, how different are these two new variants from the standard 390 Adventure and how much difference do they make for the buyer in the market?


The 390 Adventure SW variant gets KTM's Dakar Rally racing heritage inspired livery.

Design & Features 

Starting with the 390 Adventure SW, with SW denoting ‘Spoke Wheels,’ is the new top-spec variant in the 390 Adventure range. The wire-spoke wheels sit within the 19-inch front and 17-inch rear black-anodized aluminium rims, shod with Metzeler Tourance tyres. To go with that, this variant comes equipped with WP Apex fully-adjustable suspension units offering 30-clicks of compression and rebound settings at the USDs up front, 10-clicks preload and 20-click rebound on the rear monoshock. However, KTM has maintained the same suspension travel (170 mm - Front, 177 mm - Rear) and ground clearance of 200 mm as before.


 30-clicks for compression and rebound damping at the USDs up front.

On the cosmetic front, the SW variant, barring the wheels and suspension, looks the same as the standard 390 Adventure. However, the company has provided the SW variant with an updated colour scheme that takes inspiration from KTM’s Dakar Rally racing heritage with the existing steel trellis frame finished in KTM orange.


Wire-spoke wheels add to the off-road capabilities of the 390 Adventure.

On the feature front, the SW continues to offer all the existing features and rider aids like traction control, cornering ABS, riding modes, slipper clutch, quick-shifter, adjustable levers, LED headlamp, open cartridge suspension at the front and also the 5-inch TFT display with smartphone connectivity.

The 390 Adventure X is the most accessible variant in the 390 Adventure range.


In the case of the 390 Adventure X, being its most accessible variant, the feature package is quite the opposite. While this one also looks almost identical to the standard 390 Adventure, it gets two similar yet different colour schemes with a black trellis frame. The motorcycle carry-forwards a couple of parts from the 250 Adventure that includes, big piston fork assembly at the front, non-adjustable levers, the monochrome LCD and MRF Mogrip Meteor tyres instead of Metzeler Tourance. 

On the tech bits, while 390 Adventure X retains the switchable dual-channel ABS, it loses out on all other rider aids like cornering ABS, quick-shifter, traction control and smartphone connectivity. 


Powertrain remains the same 373cc single-pot liquid-cooled motor.

Engine & Performance

In this department, both variants of the 390 Adventure are identical to each other. Both motorcycles continue to be powered by the same 373cc single-pot mill producing 43.5 bhp of max power and 37 Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties continue to be handled by a 6-speed gearbox. 

The 390 Adventure is a capable touring motorcycle.

From off-road to open roads, both bikes continue to be extremely enjoyable to ride. Quick and easy to manoeuvre, while at the same time being steady and encouraging confidence. The potent nature of the 373cc mill never disappoints regardless of terrain or the traffic conditions it is being ridden in. With the responsive character of the engine and the generous amount of power it packs, these bikes are fantastic for riding in the city and on the highway.

Airtime on the 390 Adventure is a lot more fun with the suspension and spoke wheel upgrades.

Ride & Handling

Now, we already know how the 390 Adventure rides and handles. However, with the addition of new equipment, there is a noticeable difference to be mentioned. After riding the SW variant around the curated track at ProDirt, trying out different suspension settings, and on the initial impressions front, the adjustable suspension reacts and adapts better in comparison to the standard settings.


Hitting a big rock while river crossing is not a concern anymore, thanks to the spoke wheels.


While being ridden off-road, the bike felt a lot more planted and stable around the course, inspiring more confidence to carry more speed and have a faster pace, with less fear of unsettling the bike and losing control. The other benefit also comes from the spoke wheels as they allow more freedom to attack off-road obstacles like jumps and ride over challenging rocky terrain. Compared to alloy wheels, the thick wire-spoke wheels can take a lot more beating, and even if a spoke or two were to break, one can continue to ride on.

Design-wise, both the variants continue to remain the same.


Out on the highway, the 390 Adventure SW rides very similarly to the standard variant. From good roads to bad roads, straights to sweeping corners and varying gradients, there was no terrain that the motorcycle faced any difficulty. Over here, I tried different settings on the compression and rebound settings on the front suspension units. Turn a few clicks to the plus side and the ride quality stiffen up, allowing a more sportier and tighter feel, meanwhile, on turning the adjustment knobs to the left, the compression and damping become softer, resulting in a more comfortable ride. So, depending on the ride experience wanted, one can tweak the functioning of the suspension as required. Once set, there is a noticeable difference in the ride quality and how the motorcycle communicates, especially over broken roads, making the ride a lot more enjoyable.


 The wire-spoke wheels completes the proper off-road look for the 390 Adventure.


Although one needs to take note that now with tube tyres, having a flat while off-roading or out on the highway won’t be as simple as plugging a puncture as with tubeless tyres. The advantage though is that wire spoke wheels are repairable, while any damage to the alloys would mean replacing the entire wheel.


 The motorcycle is capable of comfortably cruising at triple digit speeds.

In the case of the 390 Adventure X, the bike feels or rides much like the standard 390 Adventure. In terms of cornering confidence, the MRF tyres do limit how much one can push the bike if you wanted as the peaky power of the motor can cause the rear to break traction on a low-traction surface. That said, the omission of most rider aids does require the rider to be cognizant of his skills and experience as a rider.


The top-spec SW variant gets all the bells and whistles in the 390 Adventure range.

Price & Variants

On the price board, the 390 Adventure X is the most affordable way to add the KTM adventure bike to your garage, while the 390 Adventure SW is the top-spec version offering all the bells and whistles that KTM has on offer for the 390 Adventure. With the addition of new variants, KTM now has four variants of the 390 Adventure for its customers. In comparison to the standard 390 Adventure, the more accessible X variant is Rs 58,094 cheaper, while the top-spec is Rs 22,134 more expensive.

Model VariantStandard 390 Adventure390 Adventure V - low seat*390 Adventure X390 Adventure SW
Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 3,38,746Rs 3,38,746Rs 2,80,652Rs 3,60,880

* Same spec as the standard 390 Adventure but with a lower seat height (834 mm)




With the addition of two new variants in the 390 Adventure portfolio, KTM has not only made its adventure and off-road-ready motorcycle better but also provided the buyer with the option to choose from different variants based on their usage, purpose and budget.


In the end, it all boils down to what you want, how much you are willing to spend and most importantly, what you aim to do with your 390 Adventure. If you are a serious off-roader and are capable of exploiting the motorcycle to its full potential, the premium of the added kit on the 390 Adventure SW is totally worth it. Meanwhile, if your usage is mainly limited to the tarmac with a combination of city and highway usage, you could consider the 390 Adventure X and save up on money but at the cost of rider aids.


(Photography: Arvind Salhan)

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